New Jersey Bans Designer Drugs Labeled As “Bath Salts”

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TRENTON – The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has banned the manufacture, distribution, sale, and possession of designer drugs labeled as “bath salts.” The move does not affect Epson salts or other true bath salts that are added to bathing water.

TRENTON – Intervening to stop an imminent threat to public safety and health, Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Thomas R. Calcagni, Acting Director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs, today announced an Order of the Acting Director to ban the manufacture, distribution, sale, and possession of designer drugs labeled as “bath salts”.

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“Shady retailers are playing a deadly game, selling highly dangerous drugs with fake labels like ‘bath salts’ or ‘plant food’ to evade the law,” Attorney General Paula T. Dow said. “No more. Here in New Jersey the game is over. Today, anyone who sells these drugs is committing a crime. We’re taking these drugs off the streets in order to save lives.”

Dow also announced that individuals who voluntarily surrender the so-called “bath salts” designer drugs within the next 10 days – by the end of the day on May 8 – will not face criminal charges. This announcement is to encourage individuals and retailers to immediately hand over the drugs to their nearest state or local police station.

Thomas R. Calcagni, acting director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs, signed an order Wednesday that adds six chemicals associated with designer drugs labeled as “bath salts” to the list of Schedule I Controlled Dangerous Substances in New Jersey. Manufacture, distribution, sale, or possession of the chemicals is now a third-degree crime. Violators may be subject to a fine of up to $25,000 and imprisonment for a three- to five-year term.

Designer drugs labeled as “bath salts” are associated with intense, severe side effects that have led to suicidal thoughts, self-mutilation, and violent outbursts. On Dec. 3, 2010, a 26-year-old man shot and killed a county sheriff’s deputy in Mississippi. According to officials, toxicology results later revealed chemicals from the so-called “bath salts” designer drugs in the man’s system.

Psychological side effects include extreme anxiety and paranoia, delusional thinking, and visual and auditory hallucinations. Physical side effects include dramatically increased blood pressure and heart rates, and chest pains so severe some users feared they were dying.

So-called “bath salts” designer drugs, containing one or more of the chemicals banned by the order, have been sold in gas stations and smoke shops in New Jersey. They are also widely available over the internet. Having no known legitimate use, the drugs are falsely labeled as “bath salts,” “plant food,” or other innocuous substances, and marked “Not For Human Consumption” in order to conceal from law enforcement the true purpose of the substances.

The drugs have been sold with brand names such as “Energizing Aromatherapy,” “Down2Earth White Horse,” “Kamikaze,” “Ivory Wave,” “Purple Wave,” “Red Dove,” “Blue Silk,” “Vanilla Sky,” and many others.

“Users may have believed this new breed of designer drug was somehow safer than cocaine or methamphetamines, simply because it wasn’t specifically targeted by the law,” Calcagni said. “The disturbing reality is, these substances have been linked to severe health consequences and chilling acts of violence and self-mutilation. With only weeks to go before the start of the summer season, we are striking with this swift intervention in order to get these drugs out of retail establishments and away from anyone who might use them.”

New Jersey is believed to be the third state to take expedited administrative action classifying the six so-called “bath salts” designer drug chemicals as Schedule I CDS, after Louisiana and Florida.

Legislation currently pending in the New Jersey Senate as S-2829 would criminalize the possession and sale of products containing two of the so-called “bath salts” designer drug chemicals, specifically mephedrone and MDPV. Other states and jurisdictions have taken administrative action, enacted legislation, or proposed legislation to ban at least one of the chemicals used in these drugs.

“The real-world impact of these so-called ‘bath salts’ designer drugs is being seen in hospital emergency rooms across the country. These chemicals have no valid medical use and can only cause life-threatening harm to those who ingest them,” said Dr. Christina Tan, Acting State Deputy Health Commissioner.

The Order of the Acting Director lists the following chemicals as Schedule I Controlled Dangerous Substances in New Jersey:

3,4 – Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV)
4 – Methylmethcathinone (Mephedrone, 4-MMC)
3,4 – Methylenedioxymethcathinone (Methylone, MDMC)
4 – Fluoromethcathinone (Flephedrone, 4-FMC)
3 – Fluoromethcathinone (3-FMC)
4 – Methoxymethcathinone (Methedrone, bk-PMMA, PMMC)

The contents of individual packets of designer drugs labeled as “bath salts” vary, but have generally been found to include at least one of these chemicals. The chemicals are synthetic derivatives of cathinone, which is a Schedule I CDS under federal law.


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